Post‑secondary schools raised $229K for student food security projects on Giving Tuesday

- December 15, 2023

Together, nine Nova Scotia universities and NSCC exceeded their collective goal and raised $228,960 to improve food security for their students as part of Giving Tuesday (Nov. 28, 2023). 

Led by Dalhousie, fundraising efforts also took place at Acadia, Cape Breton University, the University of King’s College, Mount Saint Vincent, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD), Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), Saint Mary’s, Saint Francis Xavier and l’Université Sainte-Anne to benefit student-run food banks and programs on all campuses.

With the generous support of Dal alumni and community members, Dalhousie’s Food Security Project exceeded its goal and raised $72,550 for the DSU Food Bank and Agricultural Campus Food Pantry. The average gift was $132, with the highest group gift coming from the Dalhousie Faculty Association ($3,000). There were 10 individuals who gave $1K each, most of whom have been loyal supporters over the years. Geographically, gifts came from coast to coast of Canada, the United States, Mexico and India. 

Folks gave for all sorts of reasons, like campaign supporter Joseph Macdonald who says, “The last thing we should allow to get in the way of student success is hunger.” 

A province-wide movement

Now in its fourth year, the Food Security Project is a province-wide movement, with post-secondary communities across Nova Scotia rallying to meet the urgent needs of students. With generous matching support from the J & W Murphy Foundation, the project has exceeded its goal for four years running.

Food prices have risen between five and seven per cent in 2023 according to Canada’s Food Price Report. The rising cost of living also means resources that might previously have been allocated for groceries now get poured into inflated rents, transportation costs and other daily necessities. Many students work multiple jobs just to make ends meet, which doesn’t leave much time or energy to source and create the healthy meals they need to fuel their minds and bodies.

Lisa Murphy, left, and her sister, Karen Spaulding, co-directors of the J & W Murphy Foundation.

Removing barriers

“We need to remove barriers to education, and food insecurity is one of those barriers,” says Dr. Joël Dickinson, president and vice-chancellor of Mount Saint Vincent University. “We’re sincerely grateful to the J & W Murphy Foundation for their generous matching gift that will help make nutritious food available to students in need of support.”

The Murphys remain steadfast in their support of the project, and Lisa Murphy says they are most proud of the teamwork and creativity at the heart of the campaign. “For the fourth year in a row, Dalhousie and its university and college partners throughout the province joined forces, and for the fourth year in a row, we are blown away by the generosity of alumni, faculty, staff and friends,” she says. “We know our students are experiencing more instability than ever before. That’s why the J & W Murphy Foundation remains passionately committed to Giving Tuesday.”

Full shelves and full hearts

In Truro at Dal’s Agricultural Campus, Food Pantry manager Alexe Indigo says beyond raising much-needed funds, the Food Security Project also raises awareness surrounding the food insecurity students are facing. “Our shelves (and our hearts) here at the Pantry are full,” Indigo says, emphasizing how grateful the Pantry team is to everyone who contributed. “We will be able to provide sufficient, safe and nutritious food to students in need throughout the exam period and winter break.” 

Michelle McMullin, manager of annual giving at Saint Mary’s University, sums up the whole initiative nicely: “Giving Tuesday is one of my absolute favourite days of the year,” she says. “I get to watch so many individuals and organizations answer the call and show our community how much we all care about each other.”


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